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Designer wins SA’s only 2015 Helpmann


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Designer Geoff Cobham last night scooped South Australia’s only award in the 2015 Helpmanns for his scenic design on the one-man musical/dark fairytale Little Bird.

Little Bird, presented by the State Theatre Company of SA during last year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival, had also been nominated for best new Australian work and best original score.

Written specifically for cabaret star Paul Capsis, it followed the life journey of a young boy from an isolated cottage in the woods to the big city. The set and lighting were crucial to creating the show’s mood, which veered from whimsical to dramatic and foreboding.

Cobham – the creative mind behind the lighting and sets of numerous stage productions, as well as venues such as Adelaide Festival late-night bars Barrio and Surrender – had scored two nominations in the 2015 Helpmann Awards, the other being for his lighting work on State Opera’s The Philip Glass Trilogy.


State Theatre Company’s Little Bird. Photo: Shane Reid

The big-budget Philip Glass Trilogy was in the running for four awards, but lost out in a year when the honours were dominated Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Misérables and Brisbane Baroque’s Faramondo, both of which won five awards.

The national performing arts awards were presented at a ceremony at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre hosted by Todd McKenney, with presenters including Cate Blanchett, Adam Garcia and David Campbell.

Other big winners included the Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company co-production The Rabbits, based on the John Marsden and Shaun Tan picture book of the same name, which took out four awards, including best new Australian work.

Comedian Judith Lucy was named best comedy performer, Chet Faker won best Australian contemporary concert and Ed Sheeran took out best international contemporary concert.

Other SA nominations in the 2015 Helpmanns included State Theatre’s co-production Masquerade, Cabaret Festival shows The Cowgirl and the Showgirl and Nova Noir, and No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability and Performing Lines show Sons & Mothers.

 See the full list of 2015 Helpmann Award nominees and winners here.


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